Complete Guide to Sports Betting Age Per US State
The popularity and accessibility of online sports betting has exploded over the past several years, with statistics estimating that 70 percent of all sports betting now takes place on the internet.
This means that placing your bets and getting some skin in the game is easier than ever. Yet, not all states are quite in agreement on the age requirements put in place to bet on sports, whether online or in person.
If you’re looking to get in on the action, but aren’t sure if you’re of the legal sports betting age in your state, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, you will find out how old you have to be to take part in different types of sports betting in your home state.
How the Government Regulates Legal Betting Ages
As the legality of various types of gambling varies widely between the states, keeping track of what you are allowed to do, and where, can become a rather complicated task. Before getting into the details of each state’s legislation, it can be helpful to get some insight into the basics of how government gambling regulation has become what it is today.
Over the past several decades, the laws regarding gambling have been contested and hotly debated many times. In 1992, a federal ban was placed on sports betting in all states, excluding Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware. This law prevented states from creating their own legal frameworks, generating a demand for illegal, unregulated gambling.
It wasn’t until the 2000s that states began to propose laws challenging this. Many states, as you will see below, are still struggling to pass these laws to permit and properly regulate gambling, and many continue to have strict laws inhibiting legal gambling entirely.
The logic behind a local government’s decision on the legal gambling age varies from state-to-state, but primarily has to do with the legal alcohol consumption age. The vast majority of sportsbooks operate from within a casino, which inherently forbid customers under 21, due to their sale of alcohol. This prompted most casinos to put a hard-and-fast age limit on entry, preventing any legal complications or conflicts.
This situation has led to the creation of many offshore sportsbooks platforms, which are not beholden to the laws and regulations of domestic and casino gambling, as they operate in other countries, outside of U.S. jurisdiction.
So, do you have to be 21 to start betting? The simple answer is no, but there are some conditions that will depend on the state in which you reside, if you prefer to take part in domestic or in-person betting.
U.S. States with a Legal Sports Betting Age of 18+
Under 21, but hoping to start placing your wagers today? Your best option will be either offshore or domestic online betting, but you’ll have to live in one of the following states to take part in the latter option:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
Legal Offshore Sports Betting Under 21
Due to the Federal Wire Act, which restricts the communication channels through which gambling funds and information are processed, wagers placed through domestic, state-regulated venues cannot legally cross state-lines.
However, many of the mobile sports betting apps such as MyBookie and Bovada have found ways to circumvent these restrictions by running their business outside of the United States, falling into the jurisdiction of international gambling regulation, rather than U.S. state or federal laws.
This means that if you are under 21 and not a resident of any of the states in which 18+ gambling is accessible, there are still many ways for you to take part in sports betting. All you will need is a compatible mobile device and working connection to the internet.
Here are some of the apps available for you to use starting at 18 years of age:
- There are many more opening up as well.
U.S. States with a Legal Sports Betting Age of 21+
Most states are operating with a 21+ age restriction on legal sports betting, but these venues are made open to the public- both residents and visitors to the state.
You must be 21 or older to partake in online or in-person gambling in the following states, whether you are a resident or not:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States with Gambling Restrictions
A 2018 Supreme Court ruling gave states the individual authority to determine sports gambling laws at their own discretion. Many still have yet to formally legalize gambling, and some still don’t even have commercial casinos. A number of these states are currently considering laws to legalize the practice, or have even passed laws, but have yet to successfully implement them.
- California (Getting Close)
- New Mexico*
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
*Florida: Sports betting was temporarily approved, but is still awaiting launch.
*Massachusetts: Legislation allowing online sports betting was passed in 2022, but launch date has not been set.
*Minnesota: Legislation allowing online sports betting was passed in 2022, but launch date has not been set.
*New Mexico: Sports betting is not explicitly prohibited, resulting in semi-legal sportsbooks being operated by the local native tribe.
Join In On The Action!
Now that you know the sports betting age requirements, regulations, and options available to you in your search for your dream bookie, you can go forward with confidence in choosing the platform or venue that’s right for you- whether you’re looking to place your bets from the comfort of your couch, or get yourself right in the center of the action!
And remember, if you’re able to gamble in your home state, MadLab is your trusted source for the world of combat & fantasy sports, where you can get the best tips, metrics, and insider insight on upcoming matches so you can give your wagers a serious edge against the competition! Sign up here to get all this and much more.